Fasteners are the solution to a need for affordable options when connecting materials together without the need for welding. If your application requires economy, strength, and speed then a solution like self-clinching fasteners is the way to go. These fasteners have been in use for over seventy years and now come in a variety of types and materials.

What Are Self-Clinching Fasteners?

In order to become familiar with this product which has many variations and uses, let’s take a look at the different self-clinching fasteners making up the standard inventory on the market today.

Self-Clinching Fasteners are used to fasten pieces of thin sheet metal in a strong and economic way. Speaking in general terms, self-clinching fasteners are a fastening solution installed by pressing them into thin sheet material. The material is displaced as the fastener is installed causing it to cold flow into the pilot in the fastener which locks the fastener in place and provides a lasting connection between the sheet materials.

These fasteners are pressed into the host metal permanently, locking it into place. Self-clinching fasteners must be able to withstand heavy torque loads. They can be installed during or after fabrication and offer a variety of benefits, including durability and the use of less hardware.

For the majority of applications, these fasteners will save space when compared to other types of nuts and need fewer assembly operations, which saves time and increases the ease of use. Self-clinching fasteners work well when existing components must be easily replaced, or where hardware accessibility is essential.

Material Options

There are many options for materials when selecting a self-clinching fastener. The standards include aluminum, stainless steel, brass, steel and bronze. The material makeup of the fastener is most often determined by the specific application for which the final assembly will be used.


Different Types of Self Clinching Fasteners

In order to become familiar with this product which has many variations and uses, let’s take a look at the different self-clinching fasteners making up the standard inventory on the market today.


Studs are used for mounting connectors and for when the components need to be installed before the final attachment is made. Some are threaded and come in many different types for uses in thin sheet metal and electrical applications. Other self-clinching studs are without threads and are used for guiding pins or pivots. There is a wide range of sizes and materials for any application.

Self-clinching studs are cold pressed into the host material causing the displaced metal to flow around the head of the stud and hold it in place permanently. The studs have a high torque-out strength due to the bond formed between the sheet metal and the stud when it is squeezed into place. Installation most often occurs during the early fabrication stages or in the final assembly of the product.

The self-clinching studs reduce material costs and assembly time by eliminating the need for additional hardware or multi-step installation processes. All varieties of studs are designed to stand up to high torque levels, heavy weight applications, and ongoing or repeated pull by the adjoining components.



Self-clinching nuts are utilized when load-bearing threads are a priority. The clinching action of the nut takes place on the fastener side of the metal sheet which leaves the reverse side smooth and flush. A mating screw is usually paired with the self-clinching nut to complete the fastening process. Nuts come in a variety of sizes and materials to best pair with the host material and other components.

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spacers (Standoffs)

Standoffs, also known as spacers, are used most often to stack components leaving space between them. The self-clinching spacer head will always be flush with the host sheet after it is installed. A few variations of the standoff include concealed head, snap-top, keyhole, blind, thru-hole, and grounding. Specialty applications like standoffs close to the edge of the component and micro standoffs are available as well.

Hooks and Cable Tie Mounts

These fasteners are used to attach wires and cables to electronic enclosures without the use of adhesives or screws. For components that need to be replaced or serviced, hooks can be used to bundle wires at mounting points. Tie mounts can be used to hold components in place that will often need to be serviced or accessed. They allow for quick and easy removal and replacement of different electronic components.

tie mounts

Self-clinching tie mounts and hooks securely attach wires at the designed locations on an electronic component. They are ideal because they are installed without the use of adhesives which will age and fail over the life of the product. Having the benefit of the fastener remaining strong and in place for the lifetime of the assembly is a great advantage.

Access Hardware

Because access hardware by nature is used repetitively and often encounters a lot of vibration over the life of the component, it is beneficial to use self-clinching fasteners. These applications often come about in accessing hardware for automotive or latch products which are impacted by vibration and repeated use. The captive screws minimize the number of loose components and limit the risk of failure due to loose or damaged parts falling out of the setup.

self-locking fasteners

Panel Mounting Hardware

Key-lock fasteners are used to connect two sheets of metal while keeping each side flush and smooth. They can join two metal sheets while allowing one sheet to be removed from the other by sliding the top sheet sideways. Because they rotate, these self-clinching fasteners can also be used as pivot points.These fasteners are used most often with electronic components such as panels and PC boards which require repeated access. They allow the components to be removed without the need for specialized tools.

How to Install a Self Clinching Fastener

Self-clinching fasteners work by installation using parallel squeezing force applied around the base of the fastener which causes the displaced metal from the host sheet to cold flow around the fastener..

Using this force provides an extremely strong and long lasting fastening between the two components, especially when compared to the alternative of welding parts into place. The metal that cold flows as the fastener is squeezed into place using a hand tool or press flows into the pilot of the fastener and locks it into place.

A greatly loved benefit of choosing self-clinching fasteners lies in the simplicity of the installation process. They do not require a large amount of specialty equipment to install. The majority can be installed with a single hand tool, the Pemserter Micro-Mate.hers are able to be installed with a standard press. All self-clinching fasteners are installed by applying squeezing force equally around the fastener which permanently attaches it to the host component.

Self-clinching fasteners are designed to be installed directly into holes that are punched into the material before the fastener is installed. The panel that the fastener will be installed into must meet the minimum thickness to accommodate the fastener. When installing the fastener, even if it consists of the same material, the panel must always be more malleable than the fastener, otherwise cold flow can’t occur to lock the fastener in place

Avoid using blunt force like hitting the fastener with a hammer, as the speed of the fastener entering the pilot will be too fast for cold flow to properly take place. Ensure high-quality self-clinching fasteners are purchased to align with your needs. The best fasteners require precise production methods and best practices, as even the minor discrepancies in production can cause major problems in the future.

self clinching

Benefits of Using Self Clinching Fasteners


There are many benefits to using self-clinching fasteners and they are selected by the experts for their strength, economy, and wide variety of types to meet any application need.

Highlighted here are some of the key benefits to using self-clinching fasteners in your application:

1. Self-clinching fasteners reduce the number of components required to complete assembly. 2. Self-clinching fasteners eliminate steps in the process of final assembly.

3. Self-clinching fasteners shorten the time it takes to get your products to market.

4. They improve quality control and reduce error via process simplification.

5. Self-clinching fasteners also reduce costs by reducing the number of components required to install them and therefore reducing the amount of labor needed.

permanent fasteners

Permanent Fasteners

There are many uses for permanent fasteners across a vast number of industries. A general example of a permanent fastener is a fastening component designed for permanent installation. These fasteners are secured in a way that makes removing them very difficult and generally impossible to do without damaging the host material.


Nails are a permanent fastener with a smooth shaft and head designed to secure materials by being installed using force to drive them into the material. The force is typically created by a hammer or nail gun. Different types of common nail fasteners include drywall, roofing, box, brad, and finishing nails.

weld nuts studs


Rivets have heads at both ends, are lightweight, and great for providing support against shearing forces. Pre-drilled holes are unnecessary when installing rivets using a rivet gun. Rivets come in different strengths and sizes and are permanently affixed once installed. There are many types of rivets including blind, split, drive, solid, and tubular.


Inserts specialize in providing support and stability for fasteners. They are most often inserted into pre-drilled holes and provide threads for bolts and studs. The insert adds strength and can be used for restoration purposes, or as an original component to add threads to softer materials.

HTF Updates a Wide Range of Self-Clinching Fasteners Daily

HTF has a wide variety of high-quality, self-clinching fasteners available to meet any need and function. The large stock of fasteners are updated daily, and thanks to our global presence, they can get to you with the shortest lead times in the industry.

As the experts in self-clinching fasteners, HTF is here to help find the right fastener and installation tools for your application. Self-clinching fasteners are the most efficient, cost effective, and strongest solution when compared to other multi-faceted fastening setups.

We take great pride in being able to deliver the greatest variety of parts on the fastest timelines with the most attentive customer service in the industry. That’s why we have long-standing, trust-based relationships with the top fastener manufacturers.

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